A little screen can’t prevent these Wahine from going far
THE dirt is perfect. The grass is green, the sky is blue, the sun is warm. The ball is gone.
Gone, hitting about halfway up the screen behind the home-run fence, at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. Without an arc, a line-drive shot. A ball hit so well that without that screen you'd have to say not only would it go into the tennis court, it might have had a chance to go into the tennis court behind the tennis court.
That kind of gone.
"It flew off" the bat, said Hawaii pitcher/first baseman Kate Robinson, who hit it, and who shakes her head, and laughs, and shrugs her shoulders, when asked where all this power came from. Practice, is the only thing she can say.
"In practice we have girls who have hit it all the way over," that screen, which means maybe we're talking balls headed for the parking garage, or into the pond.
And so it has gone, this Rainbow Wahine softball season. Again and again, gone. They broke the school's single-season team home run record a week and a half ago, 12 players have hit homers, and they've just barely gotten into Western Athletic Conference play. Yesterday, in a doubleheader sweep of Louisiana Tech -- 9-0 in five innings, then 7-3 -- three more left the yard.
"We know we all can do it," Robinson said. "We just swing hard and if it goes it goes."
Yesterday, it was Amanda Tauali'i who was the hero. After UH had rolled in the first game, in Game 2, ace Justine Smethurst (tough, tall, intimidating, and all with a bow in her hair) was chased after having taken a 5-0 lead into the fifth. She was in a jam and the bases were loaded and Louisiana Tech was making its move. Tense times. The Lady Techsters closed to within 5-3. Then Tauali'i hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer -- just her second home run of the season -- and UH was comfortable again.
No. 21/23 UH, now 33-7, has won nine straight. They say chicks dig the long ball. It seems these young ladies certainly do.
Kaimuki alum Tyleen Tausaga (nine home runs) has to be mentioned, but out of nowhere, it's Robinson who is leading the charge. Yesterday her team-leading 12th home run helped run her pitching record to 10-0. In her whole life, even when she was the same age as the small girls who wore their softball uniforms to yesterday's autograph day, she never dominated like this. It's incredible. She's never been this good.
"This is probably the most confident I've ever been," she said.
And so she can't help but smile when prodded about it. Shrugs her shoulders. Laughs. "Good thing that screen is there," she said.
That's a recent addition, isn't it?
"At the end of last year they put it up," she said.
Apparently, someone saw this coming.